“I am the son of my son”: Cuba Photos by Robert Birnbaum

My lifelong fascination with Cuba took a significant turn after my last voyage there in the Spring of 1997. Influenced in an indeterminate way by some delicious 7 year Havana Club anejo rum—as best as his mother and I have determined—our three year old son Cuba was conceived on that night of my return. That's part of the reason we named him Cuba.

My interest in Cuba stems from my first sight of Fidel Castro and his bearded cohort during the early and triumphant moments of the Cuban revolution. These images coupled with my then recent introduction to Afro/Cuban/Latin Jazz seems to have sparked an interest that has stayed with me through the ensuing years.

There is something that I am certain a lot of people find obvious that has only recently become obvious to me. There is magic to be found in this life—sometimes it even finds you—and there is an ineffable benefit to that. Both Cuba the place and Cuba my boy have given me a taste for evidence of things not seen—as the revered Cuban poet once observed, "I am the son of my son."

Lots of people think pictures speak for themselves. I don't. I think they usually need a little help. The Cuba fotos were taken during two brief visits in the '90s, most in Havana and some out in the country side. As the fotographer Marc Riboud once remarked, "The tourist sees what he wants to see." And so, these are images of my Cuba.

57 Chevrolet
Billboard III
Ceiling Detail
Che Iconography I
Che Iconography II
Che Iconography III
Che Iconography IV
Chinese Barrio
Corner Building
Cuban Boxing Crowd
Cuban in Striped Shirt

Cuban Waitress
Cuban Worker Resting
Cubana in Striped

Downtown Smalltown
Fidel Poster
Havana Club Billboard

Havana from the Rooftop I

Havana from the Rooftop II

Havana from the Rooftop III

Havana from the Rooftop IV
Instruments without Players

Kid Chocolate Boxing Stadium

Man w. Accordian
Man Waiting
More Small Town
Ordinary Scene
Ornate Facade
Pepsodent Billboard
Rickshaw Driver
Rickshaw Driver II
Rickshaws on the Malecon

Rural Cuba Small Town

Side Street
Small Town Cuba
Street Scene
Two Guys Sitting

Tourist Police
Urban Decay
Cuba Maxwell Birnbaum

Scroll to Top